Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September's Lesson: Silk Paper

Sue Anne has made silk paper to use as a fabric for this beautiful evening bag. The silk paper was layered with batting and a silk lining and quilted. It was then embellished with beads and a few silk appliques.

This month you will be making your own silk paper. The kit includes several types of silk fiber as well as some silk ribbon scraps. You will be using textile medium as the bonding product. Silk paper is made by laying silk fibers side by side onto netting fabric (we have included tulle), adding bits and pieces of other silk, or ribbon, or feathers, angelina, sequins, beads, dried flowers, seeds, threads, etc, and adding additional layers until you get the density of paper you want. It is important to build up the layers rather than starting with a too heavy piece of silk fiber. Once the fibers are in place, you will cover with your netting to control the fibers and saturate with water mixed with dishwashing liquid. Once it is fully wet, you will paint on the medium, let dry, remove the tulle or netting and then use however you would like.

The following pictures show you the layering process. Never cut the fibers, always pull them apart. Be sure to leave a margin around the tulle. Since you will be working with water, make sure you are working on a protected surface. The first photo shows the first layer; the second photo shows the second layer which is laid on top of the first in the alternate direction.

If you want, add your bits and pieces. Shape the silk fibers, lay the ribbon on top of the fibers or let snippets of ribbon fall whereever.

Cover the top of the silk fibers with another piece of tulle. You will have a tulle sandwich. With water mixed with a small amount of dishwashing liquid, paint over the fibers on top of the tulle, turning the sandwich over to make sure the piece is fully saturated.

Clean your brush and saturate the fibers with the textile medium. If you use the medium straight out of the bottle, it will have a stiffer hand than if you dilute it with a little water. Your choice. Experiement to find what you like best.

Find a good drying spot. Use a cookie cooling rack, a terry cloth towel, or make yourself a screen drying rack by covering an old picture frame with screening. Let your piece dry completely. The tulle should pull off when the silk is dry. However, you can leave the tulle if you would like.

The silk fibers can also be bonded with paper or cotton.

Use your paper as a background or as fabric within your artwork.

This last piece was done using only the short fibers call throwster or waste. It incorporates snippets of silk ribbon and some curly mohair.

The size of the piece is limited only by the amount of silk fibers and your tulle.

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